The film takes place in Chicago, Illinois, as opposed to New York, to where the novel and original film took place. However, the ending takes place in New York, which is evident in dialogue between Paul and Jordan. Interesting to note, the original film, Death Wish (1974), ended with the main character, Paul Kersey, moving to Chicago, as well as the novel's sequel, Death Sentence, taking place in the same city too.
During a torture scene, Bruce Willis comments saying its "the most pain a human can endure before going into cardiac arrest". This was discovered by scientists of Unit 731 (a covert biological and chemical warfare R&D unit of the Imperial Japanese Army during WW II) who experimented with various ways to torture someone without killing them by actually torturing prisoners of war.
In the film Bruce Willis' character learns to fire a Glock by watching a YouTube show called "Full Metal Tactics," hosted by real life green beret Shawn Vance. Eli Roth named the show as a nod to Willis' co-star Vincent D'Onofrio who starred in Full Metal Jacket (1987).
Actors considered for the role of Paul Kersey included Liam Neeson, Russell Crowe, Matt Damon, Bruce Willis, Benicio Del Toro, Will Smith, and Brad Pitt. Bruce Willis was chosen to star in the end.
Death Wish (2018) is the first film to be distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer since Hot Tub Time Machine (2010).
Originally set to star Sylvester Stallone, however Stallone backed out after "creative differences" and to work on other projects.
Eli Roth spent a lot of time with Chicago detectives to get the details of the police district (station) correct. In the film in the corner of an open murder case board appears a card that says "We're gonna need a bigger board," a reference to the famous Jaws (1975) line "You're gonna need a bigger boat." This was something Roth actually saw on a board in the police captain's office.
Eli Roth wanted the film to be a modern, contemporary take on the story and used morning radio DJs Sway in the Morning and Mancow Muller as a Greek chorus to comment on the violence and function as the film's moral compass. Roth wanted the scenes to feel totally authentic, and sent them the situations and let the DJs film and direct themselves and comment how they would naturally as if it was happening. Roth also used viral videos, memes, and the urban gossip site mediatakeout, which director Roth is a fan of. Roth wanted to show the reactions the way they would really happen, making the point that tragic violence becomes a internet meme within hours.
Although not credited, Dean Georgaris re-wrote the screenplay from page one with director Eli Roth. There were nine writers on the screenplay by the final shooting draft, and the Writer's Guild ultimately decided to give Joe Carnahan sole credit despite the fact almost none of his dialogue remained in the final version of the film.
Originally conceived by Joe Carnahan in 2012, the film was set to star The Grey (2011) leads Liam Neeson and Frank Grillo. However, Carnahan withdrew from production when the studio preferred casting Bruce Willis in the role of Paul Kersey over Neeson.
In the original Death Wish (1974), Charles Bronson's Paul Kersey character's profession was an Architect. In this remake, Bruce Willis' Paul Kersey character's profession is now a surgeon.
Eli Roth has directed several horror films. This is the first time he directed a film that was not in the horror genre.
In the movie, Paul Kersey and Frank Kersey are brothers and they both are left-handed. They are respectively played by Bruce Willis and Vincent D'Onofrio who are actually left-handed in real life.
After original writer and director Joe Carnahan left, Miss Bala (2011) director Gerardo Naranjo joined the project and was interested in casting Benicio Del Toro in the lead role. However, Del Toro was not cast and Naranjo eventually left the project.
Elisabeth Shue and Vincent D'Onofrio appeared together in Adventures in Babysitting (1987), which also takes place in Chicago.
Eli Roth cast Camila Morrone in the lead role of Jordan Kersey despite her never having acted in a feature film before. Roth met Morrone with her mother Lucila Solá in 2011 at the Ischia Global Film Festival, and Roth thought she would be perfect for the role. After shooting the movie, Morrone signed with agency WME and booked two other films.
Kurt Russell, Michael Keaton, Christopher Lambert, Dennis Quaid, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Don Johnson, Peter Weller, Ron Perlman, Stephen Lang, Michael Biehn, Tommy Lee Jones, Jeff Bridges and Arnold Schwarzenegger were considered to play Paul Kersey.
Eli Roth met with Chicago musician Chance the Rapper before shooting to discuss violence in Chicago and talk about possibly collaborating on the film musically. Although the collaboration did not happen, Chance's brother Taylor Benett's appears in the opening montage of radio calls, talking with Sway in the Morning about violence in Chicago.
Initial press releases listed Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski as co-writers, but Joe Carnahan received sole credit for his script on the final film.
Eli Roth was a huge fan of Dean Norris from Breaking Bad (2008), and at one point was going to get second dog and name him after Norris' character Hank Schraeder. Roth had confessed this to Norris at a party years ago, and Norris did not forget. Although Roth only has one dog (Monkey) he still swears that his second dog will be named Hank Schraeder.
This is the first Death Wish movie to be shot in 2.39:1 unlike the original films which were shot in 1.85:1.
Australian distributor dumped the film in cinemas in April 2018 with little fanfare and when it came time for the home entertainment release, they issued a heavily cropped 1.78: 1 version of the film that severely compromised the original scope (2.39:1) aspect ratio. On top of that, the US and foreign DVDs/Blu-rays of the film have special features, commentary, making-of, etc, while the Australian release is completely bare bones.
Eli Roth was influenced by the Chicago "drill" sound and used a lot of Chicago music in the film. He also worked with composer Ludwig Goransson to blend elements of drill music into the score to create a sound that felt like a heartbeat, or racing pulse.
Eli Roth and actress Camila Morrone did the "snowball challenge" all throughout shooting during the cold, snowy winter. The challenge was to ask a serious question during a scene but then suddenly throw a snowball in the other's face and post it on social media. Roth was nearly always the recipient of said snowball, posted to Morrone's 1 million fans on social media.
After the debut of the film's first theatrical trailer, it sparked criticism from left-wing journalists and film critics, with many criticizing the film as "alt-right" and "racist", due to the film's premise and setting.
After the script lay dormant for three years, it was announced in March of 2016 that Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado, most noted for their film "Big Bad Wolves," had been hired to direct after gaining the approval of star Bruce Willis following their 2013 hit. However, after three months, the duo announced they were leaving the project, after MGM refused to allow them additional rewrites for the film.
This is a remake of Death Wish (1974) which was widely considered to be star Charles Bronson's breakout role as a major action hero. Bronson was one of the many actors considered for the lead role of John McClane in Die Hard (1988) before Bruce Willis was cast. This is considered to be Willis's breakout role as an action star after years of working in episodic TV.
At the end, Bruce Willis's character stashes his daughter under in a storage space the stairs when the bad guys attack the house. In The Jackal (1997), when the FBI agents are expecting Bruce Willis' character (The Jackal) to attack the house, the Jackal is seen hiding in a storage space under the stairs when he kills the first FBI agent.
Dean Norris and Jack Kesy, who play Detective Raines and The Fish respectively, are both in Claws (2017). Although they don't share any scenes in Death Wish, they play dysfunctional relatives in Claws.
In the beginning we find out Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) lives in the Lakeshore area of Chicago, at the end of the original Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) has transferred to Chicago and his firm has found him an apartment in the Lakeshore area.
Charles Bronson was considered for the role of John McClane in Die Hard (1988) but he was under contract with The Cannon Group, Inc. at the time so the part went to Bruce Willis. Bruce Willis reprised the role of Paul kersey in Death Wish (2018) originally played by Charles Bronson in Death Wish (1974)